Zud, the feature debut by director Marta Minorowicz, co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, will screen in the Generation Kplus competition at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, which runs from February 11 through February 21, 2016.

Polish Film in Generation Kplus Competition

Zud, photo courtesy of Otter Films

As the filmmakers state: The eponymous Zud is a phenomenon that results in the unforgiving forces of nature taking their toll on the lives of people and animals. An unexpected return of snow destroys the livelihood of a nomad family. Eleven-year-old Sukhbat is forced to leave his carefree childhood behind. The fate of his family depends on whether or not he is able to tame a wild horse in order to win a race. The intense relationship between the boy, his father and the wild horse shows how nature is able to overwhelm human lives. Nobody remains unscathed after being confronted with the powers of the steppe.

Zud was filmed in Mongolia and features performances by real-life nomads Sukhbat Batsaikhan (Sukhbat) and Batsaikhan Budee (the father). Supporting roles were also played by indigenous Mongolian steppe-dwellers. The script was written by Marta Minorowicz and Kenneth McBride. The film was lensed by Paweł Chorzępa and edited by Beata Walentowska.

A Polish-German Co-Production

Zud is a Polish-German co-production, with Anna Wydra of Otter Films acting as the Polish producer and Ann Carolin Renninger and Thomas Kufus of zero one film producing on the German side. The film was produced with co-financing from the Polish Film Institute, Eurimages, FFA Filmförderungsanstalt and Medienboard Berlin – Brandenburg, and the MEDIA programme. The project had been developed within the EAVE workshop, the NIPKOW programme, and Dragon Forum. World sales are handled by Manuela Buono of Slingshot Films.

The Feature Debut by Director Marta Minorowicz

Marta Minorowicz, photo by Piotr Stasik

Zud is the feature debut by director Marta Minorowicz, author of multiple award-winning documentaries. Her film Kawałek lata (A Piece of Summer) received the Grand Prize at the Clermont-Ferrand festival in 2011, the Golden Dove award at DOK.Leipzig, and the Grand Prize at the “Man in Danger” festival. Her film Decrescendo received acclaim at a number of international film festivals, including Zagreb DOX and the Krakow Film Festival, as did her documentary Anioł Śmierci about the victims of Josef Mengele’s medical experiments. She graduated in drama studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and is a graduate of the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing.

Following the award-winning Efekt domina (The Domino Effect), Zud is the second film to be produced jointly by Otter Films and zero one film.

press release

Translated by Karolina Kołtun